Husband Improvement – Part 2

Most women have developed a whole series of actions they believe will be motivating & encouraging for their men (husbands & sons, in particular). But most of the time, their guys stay the same … or actually get worse. So what exactly is it that women do that makes their men worse? less responsive? more defensive?

My free “Prelude to a Dance” seminars for women always started with a fill-in-the blank …

* The thing that bugs me most about men is ____________________________.

Then we discuss all the ways we’ve tried to change whatever it is we don’t like about them. None of it has ever worked, of course, but don’t we keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results? Wait! Isn’t that the textbook definition of “crazy?” Yes, I believe it is!

There are several strategies that women try repeatedly in their attempts to change a man. Here’s a very brief list of some of the things we’ve all tried … at one time or another … and the reasons why they don’t work.

[callout]Hints. In plain, simple language: “Guys don’t do hints.” Why not? Because they don’t even recognize them! Hints are clouded with Girl Code, which they can’t even being to comprehend. So why rely so heavily on hints when they never work?[/callout]

We hint that we’d like to go out to eat … or to Hawaii. Our word choices can be so vague that men are often left in the dark about what it is we’re saying … or that we were even saying anything of significance at all!

We say, “Notice anything new?” Which is as dangerous as, “Does this outfit make me look fat?” It feels like a setup to him … like a trap … especially if past conversations have resulted in your anger. Of course, we know that your anger comes from having your feelings hurt. So why not avoid that probability altogether … by setting him up to win right from the start?

One poor husband was painfully unaware of what his wife needed and wanted or even what she liked! He wanted so badly to please her, but he kept tripping over himself in the process. We were talking about their sexual relationship in one very tearful session, and I asked his wife to share with him just one thing that she liked.

She refused and said with an angry tone, “No, I’m not going to tell him. I shouldn’t have to tell him. He should just know. If I tell him, then he’ll do it, but only because I told him to, not because he wants to.”

So her expectation was that he should read her mind? The last I knew, men and women dwell in very different bodies with very different designs. What’s pleasurable to one is not necessarily the most enjoyable for the other. How can he possibly know unless she tells him? … And just exactly what’s wrong with him doing something that he knows would bring her pleasure?

Having said that, I really do understand her struggle. Most women are at least a little ambivalent about their sexuality. However, life is so much easier when we’re direct. I know we weren’t brought up that way, but sometimes we need to acquire new skills … and new confidence … in ourselves and in our partner.

[callout]Criticism. Women respond to criticism. It changes us. But men resist it. Always.[/callout]

For example, I was wearing my favorite periwinkle blue blouse one day, and another woman told me that I really don’t look good in that color. Now I happen to know for a fact that periwinkle blue is actually one of my very best colors. It makes my eyes appear more blue than they already are … and they are already pretty darn blue. No, I’ve not stopped wearing that blouse. But I do make note of what I’m planning to wear on the days I know I’ll be seeing her.

“How crazy is that?” you ask.

Pretty darn. But it’s what we women do.

Men don’t operate that way. Criticism only serves to rally their defensiveness, so it has the opposite effect on them. They’ll go ahead and do it anyway … or avoid the person … or hide what they’re doing.

One thing is sure: Criticizing a man will backfire every time.

[callout]Comparison. Many of us – but certainly not all – care way too much about what others are thinking of us … probably because we’re constantly judging one another.[/callout]

Our standard: our concept of the Ideal Woman. Of course, none of us can measure up to that! And then we expect a man to measure up to the Ideal Woman?

“How crazy is that?” I ask.

Pretty darn. But it’s what we women do.

Comparing our man to the Ideal Woman … or to anyone … is crazy. He’s unique, and God loves him right now … right where he is … exactly the way he is. And if Our Holy God loves him, how can we dare to think we have a better idea? Honestly. We have neither the wisdom nor the power to change ourselves for the better, much less improve on a man … for whom we have no blueprint in the first place.

[callout]Nagging. It makes him feel like a little boy. Which makes you feel like his mom. Not helpful for either of you. Enough said.[/callout]

There is a better way … [learn more]

How to Change a Man

How to change a manYou’ve probably heard the saying that when a man marries a woman he’s hoping she’ll never change, whereas a woman marries a man hoping that he will.

It’s often more than a hope for her. He may actually be her Main Project.

But men are not projects.
They are people.

I don’t like to be the bearer of bad tidings, ladies, but God only created one perfect man so far … and it took Him nearly 60 years to refine him.  Okay. Forgive me for bragging about the Love of My Life. I admit he’s not really perfect. He’s just close enough to perfect for me. [Queue country music …]

On the Bright Side, however, if the Lord is doing such a great job on My Cute Boy, I believe He can do the same with yours!  Your man can be so much more, and you can actually help him become Your Fearless Leader in the Dance of Romance!

Your man wants to be your Leader in the Dance of Romance … to protect you, guide you, and hold you … to choreograph Your Dance to maximize your pleasure in being with him.

Women have so much influence over a man’s life, and we don’t even realize it! Because much of the time we’re shooting ourselves in the foot. Doing all the things that make him worse (more defensive) … instead of doing things to encourage his self-improvement … things that he actually wants you to do that will naturally shape his behavior in a positive direction!

Learn more about how to change your man here.

What do women want?

Women really aren’t that complicated. Most of us – women included – believe that women are more complicated than men. But we’re not nearly as complicated as we seem.

Pretty much everything she wants from you – as even she would confess – has to do with her beliefs about one (or more) of the following three categories:

  • You don’t love and cherish me.
  • You don’t think I’m pretty.
  • You don’t value my feelings.

Bullet Point #1: Love and cherish her.

The first thing a woman wants is to know is that she’s more precious to you than anything else. No, she doesn’t want to run your life. She wants to know – by the reliability of your words and actions – that she’s always at the top. Her hope and prayer is that she runs a very close second to God.

You probably don’t realize just how important your opinion is to her. Despite how it may seem, much her self-esteem depends on what she thinks you think of her. Not what you actually think of her, but what she thinks you think of her. And she makes that determination based on your behavior – all you choose to do – or choose not do – in regard to her.

Bullet Point #2: Tell her she’s pretty.

This point’s the simplest one. Women spend a lot of time, energy, and money trying to look as just pretty as they can. And as she gets older, she’ll start doubting that she could still be attractive to the opposite sex.

If she’s already yours – or if you want her to be yours – you won’t want some other guy beating your time! So tell her yourself that she’s pretty and/or cute … on a daily basis!

Of course, you must be absolutely, positively sincere about whatever you say. Flattery is cheap and meaningless, and she’ll see right through it.

Don’t go there.
Trust me. It’s simply not worth the price.

Bullet Point #3: Just say you are sorry.

A woman’s feelings can get hurt very easily, especially by the man she loves. Her feelings are important, and she needs you to appreciate that about her. In fact, feelings are primary for “most women. When our feelings get hurt, we go into defensive mode. And everyone knows the best defense is a good offense.

So we often look and sound angry when, in fact, our feelings have been hurt. At that point, we’ll either withdraw or attack, depending on our emotional attachment style (See Chapter 9 in my book). Hurting her feelings is tantamount to Crushing Her Spirit. Nothing good can happen until Her Spirit has been revived. When you learn how to help her with that, you’ll reap rewards beyond Your Wildest Dreams.

And it only takes three steps:

  1. Notice that you hurt her feelings.
    That means you have to be paying attention, right?
  2. Then say, “I’m sorry” or “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.”
    (Note: Say nothing more. Say nothing less.)
  3. If she’s angry and/or yelling at you, you’ll need to say it at a distance.
    If she is crying, move in close and hold her hand or put your arm around her.
    Or if you’re not physically present, you can tell her you wish you were there to hold her hand or to put your arm around her. That works almost as well because this is one of those cases where it’s mostly the thought that counts.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • How often do you put something ahead of your wife?
  • How frequently do you tell your wife she’s pretty?
  • What is your usual response to her emotions?

Because it’s not always the guy who needs to change!

Treat your wife to a beautiful experience.

Because she is a wise woman who actually wants to understand what works & what doesn’t in her marriage.

She wants YOU!

So tell her you will be happy to pay her registration & joyfully watch the kids!

Click here for dates & details!

It’s Finally Here!

I encourage you to use Ephesians 5 Romance in Daily Devotions with your bride.

I recommend each mate have his/her own copy to highlight & take notes in the margins for further study & discussion.

Men need to take the lead.

You will make your bride feel safe, loved & cherished as you demonstrate your consistent desire to care for her emotionally & spiritually. You will also build your confidence as a leader! So set aside a time to read aloud a chapter each day & engage in discussion.

View the FREE downloadable Discussion Guide here.

 

Solving the Problem

Women can be confusing.
I’m the first to admit that.

We’re also irresistible.
That is by the Creator’s design.

So when things aren’t going well, understanding the problem is key.
Otherwise, you’ll try using a hammer where a screwdriver is needed.

* * * * * * *

Before & After

  • If you notice some character issues, as narcissism, borderline tendencies, before you are married, you still have the option to move on.
  • After you have married, however, you must partner with the Holy Spirit to bring healing & growth to her.

And the first thing He will teach you is how He sees the problem.

* * * * * * *

The Bottom Line

Make sure that how you “understand” the problem
doesn’t become a whole new problem.

Because character issues require very different tools than used for PTSD or for her natural tendency to worry. So make sure you know the difference!

Dealing with Feeling

Why did God give us emotions? First, our feelings enable us to fully enjoy the Good Things God has given us. Second, they activate our Personal Warning System. A signal that something is happening within us or around us.

How physical feelings work can help us understand our Personal Warning System.

Let’s say you’re walking on the beach. You step on something. Like a bee. (I actually did that. Ouch!) You immediately feel pain. You stop. And take a close look at where it hurts. Then you make a decision in regard to what need to be done.

Ignoring pain doesn’t work. In fact, it will make matters worse.

The same is true for your emotions. They are signals that something is happening. Internally or externally. And paying attention to them will provide valuable information.

How to use your emotions – even the unpleasant ones – to your advantage:

  1. Notice that you’re feeling something. That seems like a no-brainer. But a lot of people have spent a lifetime trying to tune out emotions. Especially the unpleasant ones. So being aware that you’re feeling is the first step.
  2. Identify the specific emotion. Angry. Sad. Hurt. Afraid. Guilty. Ashamed. Happy. These are broad categories. Be as specific as you can. Here’s a list that can help you find just the right word to express what you’re feeling.
  3. Identify your need. Feelings can be signals that you need something. Comfort. Reassurance. Healing. Hearing the voice of a Loved One. Being held by someone who cares. Or your feeling may be telling you to do something. Such as protect yourself or someone else. Be careful though. Sometimes self-protection is counter-productive. Especially if it’s rooted in past experience, rather than in the present.
  4. Ask someone to help meet your need. Ask Your Heavenly Father. Or ask someone who loves you. “I’m feeling sad right now. Would you please hold me?”
  5. Accept the response you get. The Lord answers in many different ways. You might feel His Presence emotionally or even physically. He might remind you of Scripture. Either way, you can be sure He hears you. So keep talking to Him.

(a) It’s a little different when you ask another human being to help meet your need. If he does what you ask (your request must be be concrete, simple, specific), soak it up. Your feelings may take a while to subside, so give yourself time as you replay his loving response in your mind.

(b) However, he may deny your request. And you must accept that, too. Because he may be overwhelmed himself. He can’t give you something if he doesn’t have it.

The Bottom Line

God gave your feelings to YOU. So you are responsible for understanding and responding to them. Never try to manipulate others to make yourself feel better. It will backfire.

If you’d like help to understand your own feelings, explore the Negative Cycle Survey now.

Perfect Partners

what do you believe about women

In the movie Fireproof, the statement “Never leave your partner behind” was a motto of the Fire Department. Caleb learned to apply that principle to his marriage.

So what do we mean by partner when it comes to marriage?

The Dictionary Definition: person who takes part with another

Which of these synonyms define your partnership with your mate?

accomplice | ally | assistant | associate | buddy | chum | cohort | collaborator | colleague | companion | comrade | confederate | consort | coworker | crony | date | friend | helper | helpmate | mate | pal | participant | playmate | sidekick | spouse | teammate

sometimes your heart

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Who’s more complicated?

So many couples who are experiencing relationship problems seem to need an interpreter. In fact, what I mostly do during a couple’s counseling session is to to translate “what he just said” into words that she can understand, and then translate “what she just said” into words that he can understand.

So on the surface, it seems like poor communication is the problem. But like so many other things in life, there’s more to it than that.

In other words, the lack of connection and understanding run deeper than mere word-choice. There are some fundamental biological and social differences that lead to very different world views — a situation that’s not easily resolved, especially when it prevents us from even trying to understand.

At the root, we find the commonly held belief that “men are simple,” and “women are complicated.” I hear that a lot, so much so that it seems to be universally accepted as an immutable fact of life — one that gets in the way of any hope for a better connection. Internet author Grantley Morris puts it this way:

“There seems a common belief that women are more complicated than men. This belief has perhaps contributed to more marriage problems than any other belief. Men generally conclude from it that women are so hard to understand that there’s no point in even trying to understand them. (Women who try to maintain an aura of mystery may be doing so to their own hurt.) And women tend to assume that men are so easy to understand that there is no need to even try to understand them better. So when it comes to better understanding the opposite sex, it’s often the case that men feel defeated before they start and women barely see a need to start.”

For more insight into the emotional world of men and women, order your copy of Ephesians 5 Romance here.

https://youtu.be/RMmhRE9iS5w

Happy Couples

In every relationship, partners continually make “bids” for one another’s attention, closeness, and reassurance through comments, questions, and gestures.

In successful marriages, spouses respond positively to these bids *86% of the time. That means you could totally miss 14% of the opportunities presented and still be pretty happy! How cool is that?

  • Through their words and/or their actions, they invite more connection.
  • That is, they communicate (with or without words):
    • “You matter to me.”
    • “I want to connect with you, too.”

In fact, successful couples make at least 20 (yes, twenty) positive remarks for every 1 (one) negative remark! If you do the math, that means 95% of their words are positive. Who saw that coming?

A tender answer turns away rage,
    but a prickly reply spikes anger. PROVERBS 15:1

To respond to a matter before you hear about it
    shows foolishness and brings shame. PROVERBS 18:13